The IBM Innovate conference is one of the highlights of my year. Because I work remotely as do many of my peers, Innovate is one of the few chances I get to see some of my teammates face to face. Whether it is sharing lunch at the conference, a couple IPAs at the brew pub or a tin of Queso dip and chips in Picabo at 2am after the theme park (I’m somewhat embarrassed to say this has become an annual tradition), it’s great to catch up with old friends.
But, more importantly, Innovate is an opportunity to get face time with lots of our customers and partners. I travel around and visit customers all the time, but Innovate gives a great bang for the buck as I can talk to an electronics manufacturer over breakfast, meet folks from a fascinating new start-up at a workshop,have dinner with a multinational banking customer and have a beer with a business partner all in the same day. The electronics manufacturer is looking at how they can deploy Rational Quality Manager across their entire enterprise for thousands of users and is concerned about how they will transition from their legacy test management solution. The start-up is strapped for cash and needs to know how they could automate their continuous build process while integrating with open source SCM and testing tools. The bankers are positioning themselves to capture the huge market opportunity for mobile banking in sub-Sahara Africa. The business partner (although he primarily just likes to drink beer) wants to see how his firm can partner with IBM to deliver more value to clients. There is a huge diversity of interests, challenges and solutions being discussed at Innovate. It is a geekfest and the energy in the sessions, keynotes and workshops is electric.
As a Solution Architect, all these diverse customers are all generally looking for me to suggest what IBM products and solutions will help them – and that’s the fun part of my job. The dirty little secret is that I generally get far more out of those conversations than they do. I come away from these conversations with new insights and perspectives on what people are doing today with our tools and what they want to do tomorrow. That electronics manufacturer needs more capabilities in the RQM REST interface. That start-up is using an automated test framework I’ve never heard of before. Those bankers are testing and deploying their mobile apps on a two-week cycle. That business partner wants RTW to run on their mobile device cloud. These are all fascinating new challenges to go back and discuss with our developers, product managers and services folks. Addressing them is what sets us apart from the competition. It is also what keeps things interesting and challenging.
So, give me a shout if you are at Innovate. I would love to chat it up with you and see what your next big challenge is. Reach out to me on the Innovate app (well, one hasn’t been announced yet, but I am sure there will be one).
Here’s my presentation schedule. I would love to see you at one or more of my sessions! Rumor has it that they will be giving a way a new car at one of my sessions. (OK, that’s not true. I only said that to drive up attendance. But come anyway. I’m sure we will have fun!)
IMD-1202 : Mobile Quality. First Impressions Count.
Date/Time : Tue, 03-Jun, 11:15 AM-11:45 AM
Room : Dolphin-Northern A4
Co-presenter : Javier Bastante, Keynote Systems
WRK-2391 : Quality Management and Testing Mobile Apps
Date/Time : Wed, 04-Jun, 10:00 AM-01:00 PM
Room : Dolphin-Northern A2
DQM-1198 : Avoiding the Dreaded “One Star” Review: Automating Mobile Testing to Improve App Quality
Date/Time : Wed, 04-Jun, 01:45 PM-02:45 PM
Room : Dolphin-Northern D